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Triple j, NPR, CBC, BBC and RTÉ choose the songs you need to hear right now

Holly Gordon

Each week at CBC Music, our staff members pick a list of songs you need to hear, writing passionate words with the hopes that you’ll add said artist to your playlist. Once a month, though, we do something different.

This time around, public broadcasters from across the globe weigh in on those must-hear songs. NPR MusicBBC Radio 1triple j,Ireland’s RTÉ and CBC Music hosts give an international voice toSongs You Need to Hear, choosing a song from an artist you shouldn’t miss.

In this eighth instalment, NPR Music's Ann Powers, BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens, triple j’s Zan Rowe, RTÉ's Dan Hegarty and CBC's own Grant Lawrence make a case for five artists you should have on your radar.

To hear some of these voices make the case on-air, tune in to Radio 2 Drive at 6:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 17.

Host: Ann Powers, music critic for NPR Music
Song you need to hear: "Poor," Sweet Spirit

Today, I want to share with you a song by the Austin, Texas, band Sweet Spirit. The band belongs to a generation of young bands that I’m seeing out in the clubs today: they’re party bands, they have kind of a jam-band side to them, but they’re also kind of punk in their attitude, and that’s what I think is really cool about them. This group was formed by the singer Sabrina Ellis and guitarist Andrew Cashen, who are also in a more raw punk group called A Giant Dog. But Sweet Spirit is a nine-piece — they have horns, they’re really all about making you dance. What I love about "Poor" is the sentiment expressed: it’s about being a starving artist, or just a person who doesn’t really care if you’re making a huge success in the world, but just wants to have fun on a day-to-day basis. That’s a great message no matter what year it is, and Sweet Spirit pulls it off so well. Listen to the track here

Host: Grant Lawrence, CBC Music
Song you need to hear: "I Can’t Figure Out What’s Going On," Half Moon Run

Half Moon Run is a Canadian band originally from the small Vancouver Island ocean community of Comox, B.C., but it wasn't until the band members relocated to Montreal that they really made a name for themselves. In the spring of 2012, they caught almost everyone by surprise with an excellent debut album that was an immediate hit with fans, propelling the band to gold status in Canada. Three-and-a-half long years later, Half Moon Run has returned, matured and in control on a second album, called Sun Leads Me On, and from that album I'd like to share the song "I Can't Figure Out What's Going On." One of my favourite types of songs is the slow build, and this one definitely qualifies. It's like putting a kettle on the stove: the song is calm at first, then starts simmering, soon hits a rolling boil and finally blasts forward for a heated finish. If you enjoy artists like Spoon, the Band or Sufjan Stevens, chances are you'll love Half Moon Run. So put the kettle on and enjoy.

Host: Zan Rowe, triple j, Mornings
Song you need to hear: "Heartburn," Wafia

I loved this song as soon as I heard it, and find myself wanting to listen to it over and over. Is that addiction? I guess so. Wafia is a 22-year-old Brisbane singer who was previously featured as a guest vocalist on other people’s songs, but this is her debut. And it’s a stunner. She’s teamed up with a young Perth producer by the name of Ta-Ku who himself is one to watch. The chorus hook tumbles like a waterfall over those beats and you’ll find yourself wanting to press play again, as soon as this song ends.


Host: Dan Hegarty, RTE 2fm/2XM, The Alternative
Song you need to hear right now: "Northern Boy" by the Academic

Eighteen months ago there were probably only a few hundred people in Ireland who knew who the Academic was. How things have changed! This band has been one of the most successful and talked-about Irish acts in 2015. The Academic's single "Northern Boy" is the latest example of this band's pedigree. It's an energetic slice of guitar pop, which has attracted a great deal of attention domestically and from around Europe. The four-piece has also been named as 2fm's choice to play the influential Eurosonic Festival in the Netherlands next January. With a bit of luck, this will help their deserved rise in popularity continue in a northerly direction.

Host: Huw Stephens, BBC Radio 1
Song you need to hear: "Wasted Days," Zibra

This time 'round we’ve got a slice of indie funk for you by Zibra, a trio from Cambridge. It's been championed by our BBC Introducing show in Cambridgeshire and has been rapidly building a loyal live fanbase following support slots across the U.K. with Years and Years, Saint Raymond and Coasts. And it’s been said that lead vocalist/guitarist, Sam Battle, is steadily building a reputation as one of Britain’s most exciting frontmen! So, allow me to introduce you to Zibra with "Wasted Days."